The Ultimate Guide To Dental Implant Cost
How much are dental implants?
If you've ever had a question about dental implants prices, you are not alone. An inquiry about the price for dental implants is one of the most common questions that the MEDIGO Care Team receives. Even in the internet age, it's a very difficult task to compare prices for dental implants, or to give a good estimate for the average cost of dental implants. Many patients seeking a price estimate don't know whether to look for a price per tooth, or whether the cost they are looking at includes the implant, abutment, and crown. We created The Ultimate Guide to Dental Implant Prices to help guide you in your dental cost estimate.
What is the average cost of dental implants?
The average cost of dental implants in the United States is around $5,000. That is the out-of-pocket cost for the implant itself, the abutment, the crown, and the surgery. In the UK, the average out-of-pocket price is about £2,698 (USD 4,079), although implants can sometimes be covered by the NHS (see below). In Australia, the same dental implants will cost about AUD 2,058 (USD 1,620).
Abroad, the prices for dental implants still vary pretty widely. Part of the reason is that some clinics will offer the price for the full procedure and all of the hardware, while some will only offer a quote for placing the implant itself (which we'll get into later). On average, getting dental implants abroad can save you
- 90% of the price in the US
- 89% of the price in the UK
- 70% of the price in Australia
Where are the best deals on dental implants?
Dental implants are one of the most common procedures patients travel to a different country to receive. Dental implants are extremely popular because they are considered a better option than veneers or crowns, but in many countries the cost of surgery is very high. So many clinics overseas offer this treatment, and a lot of them that cater to international patients. There are also many dentists abroad that specialize in dental implant surgery. Note that these prices provided below are for a single dental implant and the surgery to place it. Multiple implants will cost more, but you can usually negotiate a discount on additional implants after the first one.
The most common destination patients go for dental implants is Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand is known for its world-class dental care at prices much lower than most other parts of the world. Without a doubt, this is the #1 destination for dental implants. It isn't the best option for every patient, as it is quite a distance to travel for some and navigating Bangkok may not appeal to some patients. But, as many Australian patients know, dental care in Thailand is not only affordable, but trustworthy.
Hungary is a popular destination for British, Austrian, and French patients looking for high-end dental care. There are many luxurious clinics in Budapest that are also quite affordable. Hungary is well-known for its modern aesthetic dentistry clinics that attract patients from all over Europe who want expert specialist care.
Poland is home to some of the most advanced medical clinics in Europe, including the CyberKnife Clinic and European Centre Otwock. It is also home to state-of-the-art dental care at very affordable prices. Poland is also less expensive for accommodations, and travel to Poland may be cheaper than other destinations depending on where you're coming from.
Spain is known for its beautiful architecture and scenery, but its best-kept secret is its world-class aesthetic dental clinics. Traveling in Spain might be a bit more expensive than other destinations, but for those looking to combine a vacation with their procedure this is a good option. There is a lot to do and many of the activities shouldn't be too strenuous while recovering.
One of the cheaper options for those traveling from the US. In the American southwest it isn't unheard of to drive over the border to Mexico for dental procedures and other minor medical procedures. Accredited clinics and hospitals in Mexico are on-par with those stateside and their prices are the best in the area. Travel to Mexico from the US is relatively inexpensive when it isn't peak season.
Costa Rica is another good option for those looking for a vacation to go with their new smile. Accommodations are a bit more expensive than other destinations, but from North America travel shouldn't be much of a problem and there are also activities that won't be too difficult after surgery.
Why do dental implants cost so much?
What should be included in the price
The initial consultation is extremely important. Much of the planning for the rest of the treatment will be done during this phase. The dentist will also assess the health of the teeth and jaw bone, which is an important element of the treatment. When implants fail, it is usually because a critical element was missed in the planning phase. To save money, it's likely you'll be able to combine the initial consultation with the first part of the treatment. Be aware that you will definitely need diagnostic imaging in this visit (likely a panoramic X-ray), which may result in an additional cost. X-rays are absolutely necessary for this procedure, and you may not want to trust a professional who will do an implant without them.
There are usually two appointments involved in placing dental implants; one to place the implant and then, after a healing period of about 3-to-6 months, another to place the abutment and crown. Some dentists use "immediate load" implants that can have a temporary crown placed immediately after the implant is inserted. You will still need a second appointment for the permanent crown. In some cases, an additional appointment is needed to adjust the implant after the permanent crown is placed.
You are also paying for specialist care. Dental implants fall into the category of restoration dentistry and have their own category of implantology. Implant surgery can be done by a periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a dentist with advanced training in implantology. Because of the specialist training necessary to perform the procedure, the dental professional involved may charge a higher fee than for other services.
Some dentists will require that the patient undergo general anesthetic during the procedure, meaning the patient is asleep for the whole procedure. This is more expensive and requires an anesthesiologist to be present for the entire surgery. Some dentists think this is unnecessary and will perform the procedure using a local anesthetic, meaning the areas they are working on are numbed but the patient is awake. Some patients might be too nervous during the procedure if they are awake, and if this is a problem you should consider asking for a sedative to ease your anxiety if you'll be under local anesthetic.
The implant you are purchasing is made up of three parts: the implant itself, the crown, and the abutment (which attaches the crown to the implant). In many cases, the price a clinic shows you is only the price for the implant which screws into the bone, and doesn't include the abutment and the crown. Make sure you ask for the price for the whole deal, including the surgery, anesthesia, anesthesiologist, and any other fees involved in the surgery.
Patients who have lost a lot of bone may also require bone grafts. Bone grafts are performed in a separate procedure, several months before the implant is placed, and will require several months to heal and for the graft to fuse into the regular bone. This extra procedure will, of course, mean additional costs. This also means you won't be able to have the procedure done in one trip, since the graft will take time to grow into the bone and you need to allow tissues to heal.
Although advancements in technology mean implants can be done with less bone than before, poor osseointegration (meaning the implant didn't fuse into the bone very well) is one of the main causes of dental implant failure, so if it is recommended it's an important step to take. Otherwise, you'll probably have to pay to have the implant removed, a graft done, and then the implant redone. Also, if there is significant periodontal disease (disease in the gums or other soft tissues of the mouth), they will need to be completely treated before surgery. Abroad, periodontal treatment can cost from USD 54 up to several hundred dollars, depending on how advanced the disease is. This will also result in delays to the procedure as the affected areas heal.
Average cost breakdown
The average cost of an uncomplicated case in the US breaks down like this:
- The implant itself placed into the bone costs between $1,600 and $2,000
- The abutment that screws into the implant will cost between $275 and $450. If it must be custom-fabricated (as is the case sometimes with front teeth), which will cost an additional $100 to $200
- The crown attached to the abutment is the most expensive component and can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to $3,000
- Surgeon and facility fees average anywhere from $500 at a dental school up to $2,000 for a highly experienced surgeon and state-of-the-art facilities
- There may be additional costs for other medical professionals, such as an anesthesiologist that might need to be involved in the surgery or for special cases
- The cost of prescriptions, such as a mouthwash or pain medication, varies widely
Dental implants are the Cadillac of dental restoration. Dental restoration is exactly what it sounds like: the art and science of replacing damaged parts of the mouth. This can involve anything from single teeth, as we are discussing here, to full-mouth restoration like the all-on-4 procedure (which is like a fleet of Cadillacs). They are widely considered the best option for replacing teeth since they are the closest thing to natural teeth. Manufacturers know that dental implants have become the standard of care for dental restoration and invest significant money into research and development for them. They also use extremely high-quality materials, since dental implants are designed to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Therefore, implants can be quite expensive because they are the best treatment option.
Dental implants are reputed to be the most cost-effective option for dental restoration. Other options, such as a tooth-supported bridge, have a limited lifespan and must be replaced. The American Dental Association reports that the average bridge must be replaced every 10.1 years. However, clinical studies have shown that implant-supported crowns (like we're discussing here) are effective at 20+ years in 95% of cases. This study shows a 98.8% 10-year survival rate of dental implants, which means the implants will almost certainly outlast bridges. Other studies have shown the effectiveness of dental implants in the shorter term. This Swedish study showed a 98.2% survival rate of the implant (note for patients; there were no fatalities reported in the study!) over 32 months with the immediately loaded implants. Implants may be more expensive up-front, but over time their superior value and lifespan mean you'll be saving money in the long run.
How to save on dental implants
In general, you can reduce your travel costs by skipping the unnecessary luxuries. Some overseas clinics cater to more wealthy international patients and offer a lot of amenities that are nice, but there are much less expensive clinics that will offer a similar quality of care without a lot of extras. The upside to shopping for your medical care is that you can choose what is important to you and try to reduce costs by cutting back on the frills.
Don't try to save money by going to a lower-quality dental professional. While dentists with less experience and training inevitably charge lower fees, if something goes wrong with the implant you won't only be jeopardizing your health. You will also have to pay another dentist to remove the implant, repair the damage, and then place a new implant. Some clinics offer a guarantee or warranty on their work, but you will probably wind up paying more money fixing it than you would have paying for a more qualified dentist in the first place. Trust your instincts, and go with a professional you trust.
If you want to avoid a second trip for the permanent crown, you can try selecting a clinic that uses chair-side CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing). These systems allow the implantologist to scan your mouth and use a 3D printer to make the permanent implant in the office while you wait. These procedures can be completed in a single day in some cases, but may not be an option for all patients. Also, it will likely cost more than having a laboratory make the crown the regular way. You will save on travel expenses, though, which might make it worth it.
Reducing traveling expenses is probably the easiest way to save on medical tourism in general. There are a lot of free resources online that can help you save money on flights and accommodations. Services such as Expedia and Google Flights can help you save on travel costs by tracking and comparing the prices of different flights. Traveling during peak season, usually near major holidays, is a lot more expensive than traveling during less popular times. You can also save on accommodation by using similar services for hotels.
Generally, patients needing more than one tooth replaced can negotiate a discount on additional implants after the first one. It's a good idea to do as many implants as possible at a time to avoid additional office visits, anyway.
Depending on the materials and brand names of the different parts of the implant, the price can vary significantly. Which materials can be used has a lot to do with your individual situation. For instance, patients who have lost a lot of bone in their jaw due to periodontal disease may need a different kind of screw for their implant than patients with more bone.
The type of material used in the crown also makes a big difference. Crowns made of resin are the most affordable, but don't look nearly as natural as ceramic crowns or porcelain crowns. Porcelain and ceramic also tend to be stronger, which is another reason they're preferred for visible teeth. Resin crowns are also much less durable and will need to be replaced much sooner than other materials.
Which teeth are being replaced also influences the cost of treatment. Front teeth are much harder for the surgeon to work on and require more skill to make the implant look like a natural tooth. As a rule, visible teeth tend to be more expensive, and the surgery tends to be longer. The abutment for these implants is also more expensive. If you're having front teeth replaced, you may want to choose a professional that specializes in aesthetics. If you cannot afford a porcelain crown and don't mind having to replace the crown sooner, crowns made of resin are much cheaper than ceramic or porcelain ones.
You may want to discuss using cheaper materials with your dental professional first. Be aware that cheaper materials are usually of a lower quality and (in rare cases) may result in complications in the future. Ask your professional if it's possible to reduce the cost using other materials and what their success rate is.
The fees for all of the medical professionals will make a big difference to the final cost. If you will be sedated during the procedure, an anesthesiologist will need to be present and this will result in an additional cost. You should find out if more than one specialist will need to be involved and what this will cost. If your dentist will perform the procedure using local anesthetic, you can avoid the extra cost. Finally, your general health and how complicated the surgery will be is another important consideration. Professionals will typically charge higher fees if there are other medical complications they need to worry about, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Can I get dental implants on the NHS?
Dental implants are available to patients from the UK under the NHS, but only if an NHS dentist thinks they are medically necessary. Often, they will attempt other, less-costly treatments first and something like an implant will be a last resort. Patients will also have to pay for it as a Band 3 treatment, which has a charge of £219. Typically, implants are only used when dentures are not an option, for teeth that have been knocked out, or to replace teeth lost due to cancer. Otherwise, the patient will have to get private treatment. Implants in the UK are usually performed at a dental hospital.
All-on-4 dental implants
The all-on-4 dental implant is an option for patients who need numerous teeth replaced, or even a whole upper or lower set of teeth. The procedure is a relatively new technique in dentistry and was developed by Nobel Biocare. By using just 4 dental implants instead of one implant per tooth, the procedure is minimally invasive and can replace an entire set of teeth without the need for repeat surgical visits.
The All-on-4 treatment is used to replace the entire upper or lower set of teeth. The procedure creates a permanent prosthesis by using 4 dental implants which act as an anchor for a bridge or overdenture of 12 to 14 teeth. All-on-4 implants can replace both damaged and missing teeth and provide a long-term, permanent alternative to dentures.
Four screws are placed into the jaw bone and gums and left to heal sufficiently, before the implant bridge can be secured in place. Once implanted, the bridge will never need to be removed and will resemble the appearance of your natural teeth.
The cost of all-on-4 implants around the world
All-on-6 dental implants
All-on-6 implants work in a very similar way to all-on-4 but instead use 6 implanted screws rather than 4. This provides greater stability for patients who have a particularly weak jaw bone.
The cost of all-on-6 implants around the world
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